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Running head: Opinion of Homosexuality
Opinion of Homosexuality in Relation to Preferred News Outlet
Kathleen Wortham
Dominican University of California
Opinion of Homosexuality 2
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine if opinion of same-sex attraction changed over time as
well as if there was a relationship between sources of news media and opinion of homosexuality.
This study was inclusive of social media as a method for viewing news media. Participants were
solicited from Dominican University of California and Facebook were given a link to a survey
featuring demographic items, The Homophobia Scale (Wright, Adams, & Bernat, 1999), and
items referring to news media. There was a total of 88 participants solicited from classes at
Dominican University of California as well as from Facebook, for which 56 were female, 31
were male, and one participant declined to answer. Ages ranged from 18-58 years old while the
average participant age was 27. Participants in this sample showed a decreased level of
homophobia from 14 years of age to their current age across all age groups, t (74) = .024, p <
.05. The study also found that participants who viewed a moderate amount of new media (3-4
sources) had the highest level of homophobia compared to those who viewed a low (0-2 sources)
or high (5-11) sources of new media, F (72) = .022, MSe = 344.504, p < .05. There was no
significant difference between the number of social media sources a participant viewed and
homophobia. Future research on this topic should use a larger, more representative sample and
provide a survey that asks more in-depth questions regarding the frequency and variety of news
sources a participant watches.
Opinion of Homosexuality 3
Opinion of Homosexuality in Relation to Preferred News Outlet
Introduction
Homophobia is defined as the “irrational fear, aversion to, or discrimination against
homosexuality or homosexuals” (Merriam-Webster, 2015). The first use of the word was in 1969
by George Weinberg to classify prejudiced ideas and fear of same-sex attraction. As a result of
identifying and defining homophobia there has been a multitude of research on the topic as well
as in the study of sexuality. However, views of sexuality are changing rapidly. In the United
States, the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community is becoming more widely accepted.
According to a PEW Research study conducted in 2015: 55% of Americans now support gay
marriage as compared to 27% in 1996 (PEW Research Center, 2015). Before the 1960’s,
homosexuality was rarely shown in film and television, and was portrayed negatively and often
homophobic when it was shown (Fejes and Petrich, & 1995). Levina, Waldo, & Fitzgerald’s
(2006) study on attitudes toward homosexuality after participants viewing pro-gay, neutral, and
anti-gay videos found that there is a positive correlation between the presentation of visual media
and attitude toward homosexuality (as cited in Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). This study proves that
showing positive imagery of homosexuality in media will foster a more positive view of
homosexuality. While media portrayal of homosexuality is one factor that affects public opinion,
Becker and Scheufele (2011) studied other factors that affect acceptance of homosexuality. They
found that having a close relationship with someone who identifies as homosexual positively
affects acceptance ratings of homosexuality. However, this study found that there was no
relationship between the factors of media exposure or preferred media outlet on acceptance of
homosexuality (Becker & Scheufele, 2011).
Opinion of Homosexuality 4
The present study is concerned with whether or not there is a change of opinion of
homosexuality compared to participant’s opinion at age 14, and which factors contribute to this
change with a focus on which outlets participants are receiving their news. Demographic factors
including age, gender, political affiliation, and religious affiliation will be cross examined to the
types of news media that one prefers. The media resources to be examined include television
news, print media, social contacts, and social media outlets. For example, news from a ‘social
contact’ involves a friend posting a news article on Facebook, whereas a ‘social media outlet’
involves a direct post from a news agency. These factors are important to identify so there can be
more acceptance of the LGB community, which, in turn, allows for less stereotyping, hate
crimes, and negative bias towards homosexuals.
Measuring Homophobia
One of the first measures of homophobia was the Index of Homophobia by Hudson and
Ricketts in 1980. The Index of Homophobia is a 25 item Likert-type scale that measures one’s
affect toward same-sex attraction focusing on the construct of homonegativity. Homonegativity
is defined by Hudson and Ricketts (1980) as any negative feeling to homosexuality regardless of
how that feeling is influenced. They made a point to tightly define homophobia as one’s negative
affect toward homosexuality, thus creating “homophobic” attitudes as a subset of homonegative
attitudes. An example of a question is “I would feel nervous being in a group of homosexuals”
(Hudson & Ricketts, 1980). The scale was created from a sample of 300 university students at
the University of Hawaii at Manoa, for which 66.8% of participants were female. Other
demographic information was not listed. Items on the scale were phrased both positively and
negatively, with some items reverse scored to help provide internal validity of the scale.
Questions are scored on a 0-100 scale with “0” equating less perceived homonegativity and
Opinion of Homosexuality 5
“100” equating more perceived homonegativity. The reliability coefficient for the scale is .901,
proving that there is internal validity to the questions. There is a limitation in that this scale only
measures the internal feelings of homophobic beliefs and not any other facet of homophobia.
Because of this, other scales have been produced to measure homophobia.
The Homophobia Scale was created to deal with the limitations of the Index of
Homophobia scale as well as “to assess cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of
homophobia” (Wright, Adams, and Bernat, 1999). This measure is also a 25 item Likert-type
scale and is based on the Index of Homophobia scale. Items on this survey measure three factors:
negative construct, negative affect/aggression, and negative affect/avoidance (Wright et al.,
1999). Items are on a 1 to 5 scale, with “1” being “strongly agree” and “5” being “strongly
disagree.” Examples of items include “Homosexuality is acceptable to me,” and “Gay people
make me nervous” (Wright et al., 1999). Items are scored and reverse scored on a 0-100 scale
similar to the Index of Homophobia scale where “0” is “least homophobic” while “100” is “most
homophobic.” The scale was tested on 321 participants (54.2% female), for which other
demographic information was not addressed. Hudson and Ricketts (1980) found that there was
good internal reliability and a one week test-retest reliability, proving that this is an appropriate
measure to use. This is the scale that will be utilized to measure homophobia in this experiment
because it encompasses multiple aspects of homophobia, thus providing the most all-
encompassing attitudes toward the LGB community.
Past Researchon Homophobia and Homosexuality
The present study is partly concerned with the change of opinion of same-sex attraction
from when a participant was 14 years old to now. In order to understand this change of opinion it
is important to understand previous studies of the LGB community. Fejes and Petrich (1993)
Opinion of Homosexuality 6
wrote a paper discussing the historical events in television, film, news, and pornography that
shaped a new discourse of same-sex attraction. In news media, Fejes and Petrich (1993) found
that homosexuals were portrayed negatively prior to the 1969 Stonewall Riots. It was this event
that put pressure on the news corporations to portray homosexuals in a neutral light. The AIDS
crisis within the gay male community in the 1980s allowed for more visibility of homosexuals in
media but also brought more stereotypes to the community (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). The points
of Fejes and Petrich (1993) have proven to be true in today’s media portrayal of homosexuals as
there are many more roles for the LGB community. Meanwhile, more recent research on
homophobia includes a literature review containing studies of homosexuality and homophobia
between 1982 and 2009 (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). The purpose of their literature review was to
examine studies on homophobia and perspective changes in the United Kingdom between 1987
and 2010, specifically looking at medicine and health, socio-cultural, and politico-legal
perspectives. Ahmad and Bhugra reviewed work from Edwards (2009) about homosexual
characters on television programs. Edwards (2009) found that having homosexual characters on
television programs suited for younger audiences helps shape public opinion positively, but that
the research is limited because it is currently restricted to gay white males (as cited in Ahmad &
Bhugra, 2010). Media representation of homosexual characters along with new medical
treatments and truths about HIV/AIDS, growing support for gay marriage, and new advances in
determining why people are gay have helped to shape new assumptions about homosexuals
(Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). The authors conclude by stating that homosexuality is becoming more
positively viewed, but that homophobia remains, with the biggest factor influencing homophobia
being religion across cultures.
Media and Homosexuality
Opinion of Homosexuality 7
Chomsky and Barclay (2006) studied mass media and its effect on shaping opinion of
same-sex attraction. They cross examined major newspapers in different areas of the United
States and how liberal or conservative the residents were among other demographic factors. The
study was performed by a survey administered to both rural and metropolitan areas in eight
different parts of the nation. Questions on the survey asked a) percentage of support for
homosexuality, b) percentage of support for laws protecting those that are gay, and c) percentage
of support for adopting gay kids. Answers were scaled out of 300 and divided by 3 for scores to
range from 0 to 100, with “0” being least supportive and “100” being most supportive. Sample
size and demographic information of the sample was not provided. The survey information was
taken from an unlisted national survey for which there are no numbers or demographic
information for the participants. Results from the survey showed that states in the sample that are
more racially diverse and have more college-educated people are more supportive in all three
categories. Chomsky and Barclay (2006) compared these results to how supportive the major
newspapers are of homosexuality in the areas of the study. They found that the opinions shaped
by a state’s primary newspaper publication appear to have a positive relationship with the
opinions of the people in the state. Despite the results of this study, there is question of the
validity of the experiment because of the lack of demographic information listed in the article.
Despite this, the results of the study does bring up the question of what factors shape the
opinions of the newspapers; specifically, media corporations or outside corporations support.
The study concludes by addressing that the influencers of the media’s messages “may have
influence over public opinion and perhaps over political outcomes” (Chomsky and Barclay,
2006). This study addresses many of the effects that influence opinion of homosexuality which is
vital to the present study.
Opinion of Homosexuality 8
In addition to Chomsky and Barclay (2006), Calzo and Ward (2009) also searched to
identify relationships between media and opinion of same-sex attraction. They were influenced
by the increasingly positive representation of homosexuality in media, using the examples of
Will & Grace and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Calzo and Ward (2009) discussed past research
on cultivation theory, which suggests that the more someone watches television, the more they
align reality with what they see on television. This has implications that the information that
someone seeks out via television will greatly influence their opinion on any given topic. Matched
with cultivation theory, age, gender, and religiosity are huge influencers of general opinion.
Using this research, Calzo and Ward (2009) hypothesized that those who view more media that
has a negative opinion of homosexuality, like religious media, will, in turn, have a negative
opinion of homosexuality. To study their hypothesis, Calzo and Ward (2009) gave participants a
voluntary survey asking about how the types of television shows, movies, and magazines
observed and their amount of agreement with same-sex attraction, for which scales were created
for the experiment. There were 1,761 participants in the study (62% female). Results found that
those who read magazines and watched movies in general had a more positive view of
homosexuality than those who primarily watched television shows. This may be because there is
more liberalism seen in movies and magazines. The study does not take into account political
party preference or specific titles within the types of genres of media. In addition, this study was
performed in the early 2000’s, so results are outdated. However, this study allows for a
framework for the present study, as the present study will include political party affiliation as
well as social media and the role of the Internet.
In contrast to studying opinion, there are a lot of factors that go into the development of
one’s identity and ownership of their sexual orientation. This, along with the role of media has
Opinion of Homosexuality 9
influenced work by Gomillion & Guilliano (2011). They focus their study on the “coming out”
experience and what type of media influence was most relevant in “coming out.” They
hypothesized that media would have a definite influence on the coming-out process of an LGB
individual and that television characters would be the most influential. Gomillion and Guilliano
surveyed 126 participants (62 women and 53 men) at a Gay Pride Festival in Austin, Texas.
Ages of participants ranged from 18 to 64 and included mostly White participants (69.5%) along
with Hispanic (16.4%), Asian (4.7%), African American (2.5%), and Other (2.4%). The survey
was short and asked questions in four categories: self-realization of LGB community, coming-
out, current identity, and LGB media figures. Questions were open-ended. Results of the survey
concluded that Ellen DeGeneres was the most influential media figure that helped participants
realize they were a part of the LGB community and helped to make participants feel more
comfortable coming-out. Internet and books were the most influential forms of media while
music and magazines were the least influential forms of media. This study concluded that
specific LGB characters along with Internet and book resources provide the most help for
someone to recognize that they are a member of the LGB community and aid in the coming-out
process.
There is also a question of how different aspects of media have a positive effect on the
LGB community in more than just the “coming out” experience. As previously discussed in
Fejes and Petrich (1993), there are few positive homosexual characters in media. Although this
literature has changed much in recent years, there is still a lot of stigma around the LGB
community which, in turn, is difficult for one to develop their identity as a part of this
community. In media, gay males are more common than lesbians, but are typically depicted as
“void” of sexuality and comically (Bond, 2014). This study looked at whether or not positive
Opinion of Homosexuality 10
media exposure of LGB characters and people had a positive effect on LGB youth. Bond (2015)
used self-discrepancy theory to predict that relationships between media exposure and well-being
of LGB youth are mediated by self-discrepancies in identity. Self-discrepancy theory “postulates
that incompatible beliefs about the self will induce negative emotional states” (Bond, 2014). He
gave 573 self-identifying homosexual participants (45% gay, 28% bisexual, and 23% lesbian),
ages 13 to 19, an online survey asking about three constructs: gay/lesbian oriented (GLO) media
exposure, well-being, and self-discrepancy. The survey utilized multiple Likert-type scales that
were created for the study for the three constructs of interest and cross-examined those to
answers on questions regarding participant’s commitment to their sexual orientation as well as
their perceived social support. The study found that exposure to GLO media positively correlated
with well-being of LGB youth, and that those who had the least self-discrepancies also had the
highest scores of well-being. Bond (2014) used these results to hypothesize that GLO media may
also have a positive effect on heterosexual youth because it provides positive examples of LGB
characters instead of stereotyped characters. This study helped to shape the discussion of how
important representation of minorities in media truly is.
While it is important to understand how media influences opinion, it is also vital to
understand how marketing affects opinion. Advertising needs to appeal to the masses, but how
does the LGB community factor into this need? Oakenfull and Greenlee (2005) studied how
mass media can appeal to the LGB community without alienating heterosexual consumers to
answer that very question. The LGB community is the biggest market of consumers of any
minority in the United States, but there has been reluctance in advertising directly to this
community by corporations because of predominantly homophobic attitudes in the U.S.
(Oakenfull & Greenlee, 2005). The disconnect in marketing lead Oakenfull and Greenlee (2005)
Opinion of Homosexuality 11
to wonder if the effects of homosexual symbolism on both the hetero- and homosexual
communities to see if symbolism may be a more effective way of advertising to the LGB
community without negatively impacting sales from the heterosexual community. The study
tested this by showing 252 participants, 118 homosexual and 134 heterosexual, for which gender
breakdowns were not listed, from five different areas of the United States advertisements with
four different couples on them. The advertisements shown were 1) mainstream heterosexual
couple, 2) gay/lesbian symbolism, 3) gay male couple, and 4) lesbian female couple. Participants
were then asked to rate the advertisements on a 1-7 scale with “1” being “very bad” and “7”
being “very good,” as well as to rate their favorability and like or dislike. Oakenfull and
Greenlee (2005) found that the mainstream advertisement that was the most well received by
heterosexual participants while the gay and lesbian symbolism advertisements were the most
liked by the homosexual participants. Advertisements that showed gay and lesbian symbolism,
however, were the second most well received advertisements from both heterosexual and
homosexual participants. This study proves that while gay-themed advertisements hurt sales
from heterosexual audiences, but that symbolism of homosexuality may be an effective way to
market to both audiences.
While there are many factors around the topics of media and opinion of homosexuality,
there is a question of what factors affect the relationship between them. This is addressed by a
study performed by Becker and Scheufele (2011). They looked at how different factors of
demographic information, media outlet preference, and personal contact with someone LGB may
influence acceptance or discouragement of homosexuality. The study examined two age cohorts,
15-25 year old’s (N=1,674) and 26-97 year old’s (N=547), 52% women, with participant
information taken from the archival CIRCLE 2006 Civic and Political Health Survey.
Opinion of Homosexuality 12
Acceptance of homosexuality was measured by a two point public acceptance measure, “1” for
“homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted,” and “0” for “homosexuality is a way of
life that should be discouraged.” Participants were then asked about personal contact with
someone of the LBG community, how often they viewed news via television programming,
newspaper, or Internet, how liberal or conservative they were, and how often they attended
church. Results yielded that the most accepting age and gender group was females aged 15-25
while the least accepting groups of people are political conservatives and religious conservatives.
The study also found that having personal contact with someone who is homosexual positively
affects acceptance. Media exposure and preferred media outlet did not have a significant
influence on opinion of homosexuality. In contrast, the present study examines preferred source
for news and changes in opinion of homosexuality over time, with the inclusion of social media
news outlets.
The Role of Media Today
The scope of research for the current study focuses on the history of both
homosexuality and media. The most vital concept to understand, however, is the effects that
media has on people, specifically mass and social media. Many studies in the fields of
advertisement and communications have looked at the effects of mass media, such as television,
newspapers, magazines, and more. But today there is more of a focus on the role of social media
in daily life and social media as a tool of persuasion. Research on social media by Hoffman,
Pinkleton, Weintraub, and Reyes-Velazquez (2014) found that social media is an important and
widely effective marketing tool. Hoffman et al. (2014) studied the relationship between college
student’s average amount of alcohol consumption, social media use, and exposure to alcohol
advertising via social media. There was a total of 116 participants, pulled from two universities
Opinion of Homosexuality 13
in the United States, 68% of which were female while ethnic information was not listed.
Participants completed a short survey asking about their average social media use, average
alcohol consumption, and how often they view alcohol related marketing material via social
media. The scales used in this experiment were created by the researchers to assess these areas of
study. Results found that there is a strong positive correlation between how often a participant
viewed an alcohol related advertisement on social media and the likeliness they were to consume
alcohol and participate in risky behaviors on average. Hoffman et al. (2014) also acknowledge
that the results of the study can be attributed to the type of information a participant chose to
view on social media. In layman’s terms, those who were interested in drinking were more likely
to view alcohol related content (Hoffman et al., 2014). While researchers acknowledge that the
results of this study are not perfectly representative of the population, there are huge implications
for how humans are influenced by social media.
In addition to the work of Hoffman et al. (2014), Greenwood, Sorenson, and Warner
(2016) have found that there is a link between social media and its ability to spread messages
portrayed by other forms of media. Greenwood et al. (2016) was concerned with the relationship
between how participants view a segment of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, a political
satire television program, and respond to Facebook comments criticizing Oliver’s comments.
The study featured a 2x2 design, featuring low and high salience topics as segments of John
Oliver’s as well as an opposing list of Facebook comments to the segment watched and no list of
Facebook comments after viewing the segment. The low salience topic used in the study featured
John Oliver discussing the use of payday loans. In contrast, the high salience topic used in the
study featured John Oliver discussing the events that occurred in the killing of Michael Brown,
an unarmed teenager who was shot to death. Participants in the study were solicited from the
Opinion of Homosexuality 14
University of Missouri (n=189), for which 63.5% of participants were female while the majority
of participants were Caucasian (73.5%). There was a spread across political party affiliation,
with 34.9% of participants Republican, 33.9% Democrat, and 31.2% identifying as other.
Greenwood et al. (2016) found inconclusive and weakly correlated results for the high salience
topics with and without Facebook comments, but found that the addition of Facebook comments
lead to less participants agreeing with Oliver’s comments. These results suggest that the use of
social media comments sections have a lot of influence on opinion. The study results are limited
because they did not compare the segments from John Oliver to traditional, non-politically
motivated news programming on the same topics. This study could easily be replicated with a
larger sample and variations to the variables for more conclusive results. While this study does
not focus on the LGB community, it is still important to include as it is related to how humans
perceive and are influenced by media.
Hypotheses
Predicted outcomes for this study include that a) opinion of same-sex attraction has
become less homophobic since the age of 14, b) those who regularly view a variety of news
sources will be less homophobic than those who do not regularly view news media or view low
amounts of news media, and c) the higher the number of social media sources used will coincide
with a lower homophobia score.
Method
Participants
Participants were solicited by their enrollment in psychology courses at Dominican
University as well as by Facebook. There was a total of 88 participants solicited from classes at
Dominican University of California as well as from Facebook, for which 56 were female, 31
Opinion of Homosexuality 15
were male, and one participant declined to answer. Ages ranged from 18-58 years old while the
average participant age was 27. Participant ethnicity ranged from 48.3% Caucasian, 15.1%
Asian, 9% African American, 21.3% Latino, and 6.8% other. The majority of the participants in
this study were heterosexual (80.7%). Each participant voluntarily participated in the survey.
Materials & Procedure
Participants were given a link to the survey on SurveyMonkey.com. The only necessary
materials needed for this study was access to a computer in order to take the survey. Participants
read a brief introduction page for debriefing purposes and consented to taking the survey by
continuing (Appendix A). The voluntary survey contained demographic items regarding gender,
age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class level, religious affiliation, and political preference as well
as The Homophobia Scale (Appendices B and C). The Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999)
consists of 25 statements listing emotions and scenarios regarding gay people. Participants then
rate agreement with these items on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being “strongly agree” and 5 being “strongly
disagree.” The questionnaire also included questions regarding one’s opinion of homosexuality
at age 14, their opinion of homosexuality today, and whether or not they know someone who
identifies as part of the LGB community. There is also a question regarding the most popular
sources for acquiring news, including conservative and liberal television news programs, print
media, social contacts, traditional news sources via social media outlets, and opinion blogs. After
completing the survey participants read a Thank You page, which thanked them for their
participation and provided my information for follow up questions and results (Appendix D).
Results
The survey used for this study consisted of questions regarding demographic items,
opinions of homosexuality at age 14 and at current age, the types of news sources regularly
Opinion of Homosexuality 16
viewed and the Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999). Opinions of homosexuality were scored
by asking participants how much they agreed with the statement “homosexuality is a way of life
that should be accepted” Then participants rated their agreement from “1,” strongly agree, to “5,”
strongly disagree, at age 14 and at their current age. Participant’s total news sources were scored
by a “check all that apply” method including all eleven items of news sources (Appendix C).
Total news sources were scored by adding together all items checked by the participant. The
Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999) asked 25 Likert-type questions regarding how
homophobic a participant was, scaled “0” to “100” with “0” being “least homophobic” and
“100” being “most homophobic.” This measure also contains three subscales that measure
negative construct, negative affect/aggression, and negative affect/avoidance to determine how
homophobic a participant was. Negative affect/aggression and negative affect/avoidance are
rated on a scale of “0” to “40” while negative construct is rated on a scale of “0” to “20.”
Means for the total number of participant’s regular viewing of each type of news source
appear in Figure 1 below while means for demographic information from all 88 participants
appear in Table 1. It was originally hypothesized that participants would become less
homophobic from the age of 14 to their current age. A Paired-samples t-test revealed that there is
a statistically significant difference between opinion of homosexuality at age 14 and at current
age, t (76) = .024, p < .05. The sample became less homophobic over time. These results are
shown in Figure 2.
Opinion of Homosexuality 17
Figure 1.______________________________________________________________________
Total News Sources Viewed by Participant’s
Figure 2.______________________________________________________________________
Average Homophobia Rating from Age 14 to Current Age
Opinion of Homosexuality 18
The second hypothesis in this study was that participants who view a high number of
news sources (5-11) regularly would be less homophobic than those who view a low (0-2) or
medium (3-4) number of news sources regularly. A Between Groups ANOVA revealed that
participants who viewed a moderate number of news sources regularly were more homophobic
than other groups, F (2, 76) = .022, MSe = 344.504, p < .05. Post hoc tests using Tukey’s HSD
test revealed that there is a statistically significant difference between media use and
homophobia. In addition, post hoc tests also revealed that all of the subscales of The
Homophobia Scale revealed a statistically significant difference between groups. Those who
view a low amount of news media (0-2 sources) were the least homophobic with an average
score of 6.47 on a scale of “0” to “100,” and were also the least homophobic across all of the
subscales. Participants who viewed a medium number of news sources regularly (3-4 sources)
were the most homophobic overall as well as across all of the subscales. Means for total
homophobia scores are shown in Figure 3 while means and standard deviations for total
homophobia and subscale scores are displayed in Table 2.
Opinion of Homosexuality 19
Figure 3.______________________________________________________________________
Average Homophobia Rating For Low, Medium, and High News Viewing
Lastly, this study hypothesized that those who regularly view a higher number of social
media sources for news would be less homophobic overall than those who regularly view a low
or moderate amount of news via social media outlets. The variables of social media news agency
and social media opinion blogs were added together to create the variable of total social media
source count. A Paired Samples t-test revealed that there is no statistically significant difference
between the amount of social media sources someone views regularly and homophobia, t (76) =
.761, p > .05. There appears to be no relationship between a participant’s usage of social media
news outlets and total homophobia.
Opinion of Homosexuality 20
Table 1._______________________________________________________________________
Average Number of Participant’s Per Demographic Item
Number of Participant’s
Gender:
- Female 56
- Male 31
- Omitted 1
Ethnicity:
- Black 8
- Asian 13
- Pacific Islander 19
- Latin 3
- White 43
- Omitted 2
Completed Education Level:
- High School 38
- College 43
- Graduate School 6
- Not Applicable 1
College Grade Level (If in college):
- Freshman 10
- Sophomore 13
- Junior 12
- Senior 22
- Graduate School 2
- Not Applicable 20
- Omitted 9
Sexual Orientation:
- Straight 67
- Gay/Lesbian 5
- Bisexual 11
- Omitted 5
Political Affiliation:
- Democrat 50
- Republican 8
- Independent 24
- Omitted 6
Religious Affiliation:
- Christian 16
- Catholic 27
- Jewish 3
- Atheist/Agnostic 11
- None 15
- Other 9
- Omitted 7
Opinion of Homosexuality 21
Table 2._______________________________________________________________________
Mean Homophobia Rating by Amount of News Media Regularly Viewed
Usage Group
Low Medium High
Total Homophobia Score 6.47 13.96 8.34
Negative affect/aggression 2.89 5.21 3.03
Negative affect/avoidance 1.90 3.79 1.90
Negative Construct 1.70 4.96 4.13
Discussion
The first hypothesis was whether or not there was a change of opinion regarding same-
sex attraction and the LGB community from age 14 to current age. Research conducted in 2015
from the PEW Research Center found that 55% of Americans support gay marriage, as compared
to 27% in 1996 (PEW Research Center, 2015). Following this study, it was hypothesized that the
sample would become less homophobic from the age of 14 to their current age. Participants in
this sample did become less homophobic over time. However, it is important to note that
participants in this sample were on average not very homophobic to start. This may be because
the sample was solicited from the typically liberal Bay Area of California. However, it is
important to ask where this change of opinion is stemming from and what factors influence this
change.
The next hypothesis was that a participant who viewed more news sources regularly
would be less homophobic than those who regularly viewed a low number of news sources. In
contrast to what was hypothesized, participants in this sample who viewed a low number of news
sources (0-2 sources) regularly were the least homophobic. Those who viewed a medium amount
of news sources (3-4 sources) regularly were the most homophobic. This may be because those
who view a medium number of sources are viewing the same views on topics and not varying
their information. However, the survey in this study used a “check all that apply” question
regarding news media sources which is not the best method to assess which sources are being
Opinion of Homosexuality 22
viewed often. A more effective method of measuring the news sources that participants viewed
would be to ask if participants view each source separately, then ask how often they view each
source and what they use each source for. By asking how each participant uses a news source
there is less variability in how the data can be interpreted. It is also important that future research
address the media sources that people are viewing that are not news related. Ahmad and Bhugra
(2010) performed a literature review which cited having more media representation of
homosexual characters in turn allows for more accepting views of homosexuality.
The final hypothesis regarded how social media may have a correlational relationship to
how homophobic a participant was. It was hypothesized that the more a participant uses social
media to view news regularly, the less homophobic they would be. This hypothesis was refuted
as there appeared to be no relationship between the number of social media sources used and
how homophobic a participant was. This may be because social media is a newer resource,
especially for news and advertisement. The effects of social media use and social media’s
influence on others is not well researched yet, and this form of media has not been around long
enough for there to be longitudinal studies performed. In addition, this study in particular had a
large age range of participants. Age may have had an effect on this sample because few
participants regularly used social media as a resource for retrieving news. Chomsky and
Barclay’s (2006) longitudinal research on mass-media also found that print media appears to
have no effect on opinion of homosexuality. Demographic items such as one’s own sexual
orientation, knowing someone who’s a part of the LGB community, religious affiliation, and
completed education level have the greatest effect on how homophobic a person is. In this study,
the demographic items of gender, ethnicity, completed education level, college grade level,
Opinion of Homosexuality 23
religious affiliation, and political preference appeared to have no effect on homophobia. This
may be because of the geographical area that the sample was pulled from.
There were a few limitations in this study. Firstly, the sample contained information from
88 participants, where six participants were outliers and their information was thrown out in final
analyses. This is problematic because a high number of outliers in a sample can detect an issue
with how the study was administered or with the sample. In this study the outliers represented
people who were more homophobic than the rest of the sample. The sample was primarily pulled
from the San Francisco Bay Area which is known for being very liberal. Because the sample was
overwhelmingly accepting of homosexuality to start, the outliers may represent a greater view of
the entire United States while the sample may not be representative of the United States as a
whole. Participants in this research were also solicited from university classes and Facebook. If
participants were solicited purely from university classes there would have been a more
representative sample of how younger college-aged students feel in regards to same-sex
attraction and use of news media. Allowing for solely university students to take the survey may
have also yielded different results in regards to how different news media sources are used and
there may have been a noticeable difference in opinion change in relation to news media. In
addition, this study did not include enough questions in the survey to thoroughly assess what
news media sources a participant viewed, how often they viewed different news sources, or how
different news media was used.
Past research has shown that more positive homosexual characters on television allows
for more accepting views of homosexuality among the general populous (Ahmad & Bhugra,
2010). This may be in regards to cultivation theory, which states that those who view more
television believe that reality aligns with what is viewed in television programming (as cited in
Opinion of Homosexuality 24
Calzo & Ward, 2009). Having positive LGB characters on television may remove previous
stereotypes that allow for more accepting views of homosexuality for those who have false
stereotypes about the LGB community or do not know anyone who is homosexual. While there
is a plethora of research on the topic of homosexuality and the factors that promote more positive
views of homosexuality, previous research has also found that more positive homosexual
characters in popular media across all platforms allows for an easier coming-out process for the
LGB community (Gomillion & Guilliano, 2011). Other research has found that having personal
contact with someone who is part of the LGB community affects acceptance positively (Becker
& Scheufele, 2011). By creating more LGB characters across media platforms, there is a cycle
that starts where more homosexual people feel comfortable coming out and more heterosexual
people have the opportunity to know someone who is gay. This allows for the breakage of
previous stereotypes, which is the first step to ending discrimination and negative views of
homosexuality. In addition, past studies have found that living somewhere more racially diverse
as well as those that are college-educated as more accepting of homosexuality (Chomsky &
Barclay, 2006).
Future research should include a variety of news media questions that asks participants if
they view specific news media sources and how often they view each source. Additional
questions will help validate participant’s answers, which may help in the prevention of high
numbers of outliers. This study would also benefit from utilizing another scale to measure
homophobia so scores could be cross-examined. For future research to make a causal inference
for why there is a change of opinion of homosexuality and the factors that affect this change a
longitudinal study would need to be performed. However, a larger sample size that either looked
specifically at college students or included all ages would need to be performed across the
Opinion of Homosexuality 25
United States instead of in one small facet of the country to create a more representative sample
and yield better results. Despite limitations in this study, there is a slew of information in this
study that can guide future research. The psychological community has gained some information
about the factors that may influence opinion of homosexuality as well as a look into the role of
social media in regards to opinion formation.
Opinion of Homosexuality 26
References
Ahmad, S., & Bhugra, D. (2010). Homophobia: an updated review of the literature. Sexual &
Relationship Therapy, 25(4), 447-455.
Becker, A. B., & Scheufele, D. A. (2011). New voters, new outlook? Predispositions, social
networks, and the changing politics of gay civil rights. Social Science Quarterly, 92(2),
324-345.
Bond, B. J. (2015). The mediating role of self-discrepancies in the relationship between media
exposure and well-being among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. Media
Psychology, 18(1), 51-73.
Calzo, J. P., & Ward, L. M. (2009). Media exposure and viewers' attitudes toward
homosexuality: Evidence for mainstreaming or resonance? Journal of Broadcasting &
Electronic Media, 53(2), 280-299.
Chomsky, D., & Barclay, S. (2006). Shaping the same sex marriage discussion: Mass media,
government action, social demographic factors, and public opinion in the 50 states.
Conference Papers -- American Political Science Association, 1-31.
Fejes, F., & Petrich, K. (1993). Invisibility, homophobia, and heterosexism: Lesbians, gays, and
the media. Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 10(4). 395-422.
Gomillion, S., & Giuliano, T. (2011). The influence of media role models on gay, lesbian, and
bisexual identity. Journal of Homosexuality, 330-354.
Greenwood, M. M., Sorenson, M. E., & Warner, B. R. (2016). Ferguson on facebook: Political
persuasion in a new era of media effects. Computers in Human Behavior, 571-10.
Hoffman, E. W., Pinkleton, B. E., Weintraub Austin, E., & Reyes-Velázquez, W. (2014).
Exploring college students’ use of general and alcohol-related social media and their
Opinion of Homosexuality 27
associations with alcohol-related behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 62(5),
328-335.
Holmes, M., & Bloxham, M. (2009). An observational method for time use research: Lessons
learned from the middletown media studies. Social Indicators Research, 93(1), 245-248.
Hudson, W. W., & Ricketts, W. A. (1980). A strategy for the measurement of homophobia.
Journal of Homosexuality, 5, 357-372.
Merriam Webster. (n.d.). Homophobia. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/homophobia
Oakenfull, G. K., & Greenlee, T. B. (2005). Queer eye for a gay guy: Using market-specific
symbols in advertising to attract gay consumers without alienating the mainstream.
Psychology & Marketing, 22(5), 421-439.
PEW Research Center. Growing support for gay marriage: Changed minds and changing
demographics. (2013, March 20). Retrieved December 11, 2015, from
http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/20/growing-support-for-gay-marriage-changed-minds-and-
changing-demographics/
Wright, L. W., Adams, H. E., & Bernat, J. (1999). Development and validation of the
homophobia scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 21,
337-347.
Opinion of Homosexuality 28
APPENDIX A: Letter of Introduction and Consent
Dear Study Participant,
My name is Kathleen Wortham and I am a senior psychology student at Dominican
University of California. I am conducting a research project as part of my senior thesis
requirements, and this work is being supervised by William Phillips, Professor of Psychology at
Dominican University of California. I am requesting your voluntary participation in my study,
which concerns one’s opinion of homosexuality and one’s preferred media outlet for news.
Participation in this study involves filling out a questionnaire. Please note that your
participation is completely voluntary and you are free to withdraw your participation at any time.
Likewise, your participation or non-participation will not affect your class grade. Your survey
responses are designed to be completely anonymous. Complete anonymity, however, cannot be
guaranteed and in the unlikely event that an identity becomes known, those responses will be
held in strict confidence. If you ever need further assistance, please contact the research advisor
at the e-mail address provided below. Filling out the survey is likely to take approximately 10
minutes of your time.
If you choose to participate in this study, please follow the survey link and answer
questions as honestly and completely as possible. Remember, this survey is completely
anonymous; do not put your name or any other identifying information on your survey form. By
clicking the survey link you have given your consent to participate in this research. There is no
benefit to your participation except for the opportunity to participate in research.
If you have any questions about the research you may contact me at the e-mail address
below. If you have any further questions you may contact my research supervisor, William
Phillips at william.phillips@dominican.edu, (415) 482-3596 or the Dominican University of
California Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRBPHS), which is
concerned with protection of volunteers in research projects. You may research the IRBPHS
Office by calling (415) 482-3547 and leaving a voicemail message, by FAX at (415) 257-0165,
or by writing to IRBPHS, Office of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dominican
University of California, 50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 95901.
If you would like to know the results of this study once it has been completed, please
contact me at the e-mail address below.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Sincerely,
Kathleen Wortham
Psychology Student
Dominican University of California
San Rafael, CA
kathleen.wortham@students.dominican.edu
Opinion of Homosexuality 29
APPENDIX B: Demographic Items
At the age of 14 years old, rate your opinion of this statement, with “1” meaning you strongly
agree and “5” meaning you strongly disagree: “Homosexuality is a way of life that should be
accepted.”
1 2 3 4 5
What is your Age? _____
What is your gender?
a) male
b) female
What education level have you completed?
a) High School
b) College
c) Graduate School
d) Postdoctoral Work
e) None of the Above
If in college, what is your grade level?
a) Freshman
b) Sophomore
c) Junior
d) Senior
e) Graduate school
What is your sexual orientation?
a) Straight
b) Lesbian
c) Gay
d) Bisexual
e) Other: ___________________
What is your political preference?
a) Democrat
b) Republican
c) Independent
d) Other: _________________
What is your religious affiliation?
a) Christian
b) Catholic
c) Jewish
d) Muslim
e) Other: __________________
Opinion of Homosexuality 30
Do you know of a person or persons with whom you are closely tied to who identifies as lesbian,
gay, or bisexual?
a) Yes
b) No
If Yes, please describe your relationship to this person or persons: ________________________
Check all that apply:
Where do you primarily receive your news from:
 Television: Traditional broadcast news (example: ABC Nightly News, FOX News, etc.)
 Television: Opinion news (example: Bill O’Reilly, The Daily Show, etc.)
 Social Contacts: friends, family, coworkers, peers, etc.
 Internet: Traditional News Websites (examples: The Guardian, CNN, etc.)
 Social Media: Social Contacts (examples: Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
 Social Media: Opinion Blogs (examples: Tumblr, Weebly, etc.)
 Print: Newspaper, Magazines Books, etc.
 Other: ________________________
How would you rate yourself at keeping up on current events via your preferred news sources,
with “1” being not often and “7” being very often:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Rate your current opinion of this statement, with “1” meaning you strongly agree and “5”
meaning you strongly disagree: “Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted.”
1 2 3 4 5
Opinion of Homosexuality 31
APPENDIX C: Homophobia Scale
This questionnaire is designed to measure your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with regards to
homosexuality. It is not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers. Answer each item by
circling the number after each question as follows:
1 Strongly agree
2 Agree
3 Neither agree nor disagree
4 Disagree
5 Strongly disagree
1. Gay people make me nervous. 1 2 3 4 5
2. Gay people deserve what they get. 1 2 3 4 5
3. Homosexuality is acceptable to me. 1 2 3 4 5
4. If I discovered a friend was gay I would end the friendship. 1 2 3 4 5
5. I think homosexual people should not work with children. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I make derogatory remarks about gay people. 1 2 3 4 5
7. I enjoy the company of gay people. 1 2 3 4 5
8. Marriage between homosexual individuals is acceptable. 1 2 3 4 5
9. I make derogatory remarks like “faggot” or “queer” to people I
suspect are gay. 1 2 3 4 5
10. It does not matter to me whether my friends are gay or straight. 1 2 3 4 5
11. It would not upset me if I learned that a close friend was homosexual. 1 2 3 4 5
12. Homosexuality is immoral. 1 2 3 4 5
13. I tease and make jokes about gay people. 1 2 3 4 5
14. I feel that you cannot trust a person who is homosexual. 1 2 3 4 5
15. I fear homosexual persons will make sexual advances towards me. 1 2 3 4 5
16. Organizations which promote gay rights are necessary. 1 2 3 4 5
17. I have damaged property of gay persons, such as “keying” their cars. 1 2 3 4 5
18. I would feel comfortable having a gay roommate. 1 2 3 4 5
19. I would hit a homosexual for coming on to me. 1 2 3 4 5
20. Homosexual behavior should not be against the law. 1 2 3 4 5
21. I avoid gay individuals. 1 2 3 4 5
22. It does not bother me to see two homosexual people together in public. 1 2 3 4 5
23. When I see a gay person I think, “What a waste.” 1 2 3 4 5
24. When I meet someone I try to find out if he/she is gay. 1 2 3 4 5
25. I have rocky relationships with people that I suspect are gay. 1 2 3 4 5
Opinion of Homosexuality 32
APPENDIX D: Thank You Page
Dear Participant,
Thank you for participating in this research project.
If you would like to know the results of this study once it has been completed in May 2016,
please contact me at the e-mail address below.
If you have any questions or concerns about the research you may contact me at the e-mail
address provided below, or you may contact my research supervisor, William Phillips at
william.phillips@dominican.edu.
Thank you again for your participation.
Sincerely,
Kathleen Wortham
Psychology Student
Dominican University of California
Email: kathleen.wortham@students.dominican.edu

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final thesis revision

  • 1. Running head: Opinion of Homosexuality Opinion of Homosexuality in Relation to Preferred News Outlet Kathleen Wortham Dominican University of California
  • 2. Opinion of Homosexuality 2 Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine if opinion of same-sex attraction changed over time as well as if there was a relationship between sources of news media and opinion of homosexuality. This study was inclusive of social media as a method for viewing news media. Participants were solicited from Dominican University of California and Facebook were given a link to a survey featuring demographic items, The Homophobia Scale (Wright, Adams, & Bernat, 1999), and items referring to news media. There was a total of 88 participants solicited from classes at Dominican University of California as well as from Facebook, for which 56 were female, 31 were male, and one participant declined to answer. Ages ranged from 18-58 years old while the average participant age was 27. Participants in this sample showed a decreased level of homophobia from 14 years of age to their current age across all age groups, t (74) = .024, p < .05. The study also found that participants who viewed a moderate amount of new media (3-4 sources) had the highest level of homophobia compared to those who viewed a low (0-2 sources) or high (5-11) sources of new media, F (72) = .022, MSe = 344.504, p < .05. There was no significant difference between the number of social media sources a participant viewed and homophobia. Future research on this topic should use a larger, more representative sample and provide a survey that asks more in-depth questions regarding the frequency and variety of news sources a participant watches.
  • 3. Opinion of Homosexuality 3 Opinion of Homosexuality in Relation to Preferred News Outlet Introduction Homophobia is defined as the “irrational fear, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals” (Merriam-Webster, 2015). The first use of the word was in 1969 by George Weinberg to classify prejudiced ideas and fear of same-sex attraction. As a result of identifying and defining homophobia there has been a multitude of research on the topic as well as in the study of sexuality. However, views of sexuality are changing rapidly. In the United States, the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community is becoming more widely accepted. According to a PEW Research study conducted in 2015: 55% of Americans now support gay marriage as compared to 27% in 1996 (PEW Research Center, 2015). Before the 1960’s, homosexuality was rarely shown in film and television, and was portrayed negatively and often homophobic when it was shown (Fejes and Petrich, & 1995). Levina, Waldo, & Fitzgerald’s (2006) study on attitudes toward homosexuality after participants viewing pro-gay, neutral, and anti-gay videos found that there is a positive correlation between the presentation of visual media and attitude toward homosexuality (as cited in Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). This study proves that showing positive imagery of homosexuality in media will foster a more positive view of homosexuality. While media portrayal of homosexuality is one factor that affects public opinion, Becker and Scheufele (2011) studied other factors that affect acceptance of homosexuality. They found that having a close relationship with someone who identifies as homosexual positively affects acceptance ratings of homosexuality. However, this study found that there was no relationship between the factors of media exposure or preferred media outlet on acceptance of homosexuality (Becker & Scheufele, 2011).
  • 4. Opinion of Homosexuality 4 The present study is concerned with whether or not there is a change of opinion of homosexuality compared to participant’s opinion at age 14, and which factors contribute to this change with a focus on which outlets participants are receiving their news. Demographic factors including age, gender, political affiliation, and religious affiliation will be cross examined to the types of news media that one prefers. The media resources to be examined include television news, print media, social contacts, and social media outlets. For example, news from a ‘social contact’ involves a friend posting a news article on Facebook, whereas a ‘social media outlet’ involves a direct post from a news agency. These factors are important to identify so there can be more acceptance of the LGB community, which, in turn, allows for less stereotyping, hate crimes, and negative bias towards homosexuals. Measuring Homophobia One of the first measures of homophobia was the Index of Homophobia by Hudson and Ricketts in 1980. The Index of Homophobia is a 25 item Likert-type scale that measures one’s affect toward same-sex attraction focusing on the construct of homonegativity. Homonegativity is defined by Hudson and Ricketts (1980) as any negative feeling to homosexuality regardless of how that feeling is influenced. They made a point to tightly define homophobia as one’s negative affect toward homosexuality, thus creating “homophobic” attitudes as a subset of homonegative attitudes. An example of a question is “I would feel nervous being in a group of homosexuals” (Hudson & Ricketts, 1980). The scale was created from a sample of 300 university students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, for which 66.8% of participants were female. Other demographic information was not listed. Items on the scale were phrased both positively and negatively, with some items reverse scored to help provide internal validity of the scale. Questions are scored on a 0-100 scale with “0” equating less perceived homonegativity and
  • 5. Opinion of Homosexuality 5 “100” equating more perceived homonegativity. The reliability coefficient for the scale is .901, proving that there is internal validity to the questions. There is a limitation in that this scale only measures the internal feelings of homophobic beliefs and not any other facet of homophobia. Because of this, other scales have been produced to measure homophobia. The Homophobia Scale was created to deal with the limitations of the Index of Homophobia scale as well as “to assess cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of homophobia” (Wright, Adams, and Bernat, 1999). This measure is also a 25 item Likert-type scale and is based on the Index of Homophobia scale. Items on this survey measure three factors: negative construct, negative affect/aggression, and negative affect/avoidance (Wright et al., 1999). Items are on a 1 to 5 scale, with “1” being “strongly agree” and “5” being “strongly disagree.” Examples of items include “Homosexuality is acceptable to me,” and “Gay people make me nervous” (Wright et al., 1999). Items are scored and reverse scored on a 0-100 scale similar to the Index of Homophobia scale where “0” is “least homophobic” while “100” is “most homophobic.” The scale was tested on 321 participants (54.2% female), for which other demographic information was not addressed. Hudson and Ricketts (1980) found that there was good internal reliability and a one week test-retest reliability, proving that this is an appropriate measure to use. This is the scale that will be utilized to measure homophobia in this experiment because it encompasses multiple aspects of homophobia, thus providing the most all- encompassing attitudes toward the LGB community. Past Researchon Homophobia and Homosexuality The present study is partly concerned with the change of opinion of same-sex attraction from when a participant was 14 years old to now. In order to understand this change of opinion it is important to understand previous studies of the LGB community. Fejes and Petrich (1993)
  • 6. Opinion of Homosexuality 6 wrote a paper discussing the historical events in television, film, news, and pornography that shaped a new discourse of same-sex attraction. In news media, Fejes and Petrich (1993) found that homosexuals were portrayed negatively prior to the 1969 Stonewall Riots. It was this event that put pressure on the news corporations to portray homosexuals in a neutral light. The AIDS crisis within the gay male community in the 1980s allowed for more visibility of homosexuals in media but also brought more stereotypes to the community (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). The points of Fejes and Petrich (1993) have proven to be true in today’s media portrayal of homosexuals as there are many more roles for the LGB community. Meanwhile, more recent research on homophobia includes a literature review containing studies of homosexuality and homophobia between 1982 and 2009 (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). The purpose of their literature review was to examine studies on homophobia and perspective changes in the United Kingdom between 1987 and 2010, specifically looking at medicine and health, socio-cultural, and politico-legal perspectives. Ahmad and Bhugra reviewed work from Edwards (2009) about homosexual characters on television programs. Edwards (2009) found that having homosexual characters on television programs suited for younger audiences helps shape public opinion positively, but that the research is limited because it is currently restricted to gay white males (as cited in Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). Media representation of homosexual characters along with new medical treatments and truths about HIV/AIDS, growing support for gay marriage, and new advances in determining why people are gay have helped to shape new assumptions about homosexuals (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). The authors conclude by stating that homosexuality is becoming more positively viewed, but that homophobia remains, with the biggest factor influencing homophobia being religion across cultures. Media and Homosexuality
  • 7. Opinion of Homosexuality 7 Chomsky and Barclay (2006) studied mass media and its effect on shaping opinion of same-sex attraction. They cross examined major newspapers in different areas of the United States and how liberal or conservative the residents were among other demographic factors. The study was performed by a survey administered to both rural and metropolitan areas in eight different parts of the nation. Questions on the survey asked a) percentage of support for homosexuality, b) percentage of support for laws protecting those that are gay, and c) percentage of support for adopting gay kids. Answers were scaled out of 300 and divided by 3 for scores to range from 0 to 100, with “0” being least supportive and “100” being most supportive. Sample size and demographic information of the sample was not provided. The survey information was taken from an unlisted national survey for which there are no numbers or demographic information for the participants. Results from the survey showed that states in the sample that are more racially diverse and have more college-educated people are more supportive in all three categories. Chomsky and Barclay (2006) compared these results to how supportive the major newspapers are of homosexuality in the areas of the study. They found that the opinions shaped by a state’s primary newspaper publication appear to have a positive relationship with the opinions of the people in the state. Despite the results of this study, there is question of the validity of the experiment because of the lack of demographic information listed in the article. Despite this, the results of the study does bring up the question of what factors shape the opinions of the newspapers; specifically, media corporations or outside corporations support. The study concludes by addressing that the influencers of the media’s messages “may have influence over public opinion and perhaps over political outcomes” (Chomsky and Barclay, 2006). This study addresses many of the effects that influence opinion of homosexuality which is vital to the present study.
  • 8. Opinion of Homosexuality 8 In addition to Chomsky and Barclay (2006), Calzo and Ward (2009) also searched to identify relationships between media and opinion of same-sex attraction. They were influenced by the increasingly positive representation of homosexuality in media, using the examples of Will & Grace and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Calzo and Ward (2009) discussed past research on cultivation theory, which suggests that the more someone watches television, the more they align reality with what they see on television. This has implications that the information that someone seeks out via television will greatly influence their opinion on any given topic. Matched with cultivation theory, age, gender, and religiosity are huge influencers of general opinion. Using this research, Calzo and Ward (2009) hypothesized that those who view more media that has a negative opinion of homosexuality, like religious media, will, in turn, have a negative opinion of homosexuality. To study their hypothesis, Calzo and Ward (2009) gave participants a voluntary survey asking about how the types of television shows, movies, and magazines observed and their amount of agreement with same-sex attraction, for which scales were created for the experiment. There were 1,761 participants in the study (62% female). Results found that those who read magazines and watched movies in general had a more positive view of homosexuality than those who primarily watched television shows. This may be because there is more liberalism seen in movies and magazines. The study does not take into account political party preference or specific titles within the types of genres of media. In addition, this study was performed in the early 2000’s, so results are outdated. However, this study allows for a framework for the present study, as the present study will include political party affiliation as well as social media and the role of the Internet. In contrast to studying opinion, there are a lot of factors that go into the development of one’s identity and ownership of their sexual orientation. This, along with the role of media has
  • 9. Opinion of Homosexuality 9 influenced work by Gomillion & Guilliano (2011). They focus their study on the “coming out” experience and what type of media influence was most relevant in “coming out.” They hypothesized that media would have a definite influence on the coming-out process of an LGB individual and that television characters would be the most influential. Gomillion and Guilliano surveyed 126 participants (62 women and 53 men) at a Gay Pride Festival in Austin, Texas. Ages of participants ranged from 18 to 64 and included mostly White participants (69.5%) along with Hispanic (16.4%), Asian (4.7%), African American (2.5%), and Other (2.4%). The survey was short and asked questions in four categories: self-realization of LGB community, coming- out, current identity, and LGB media figures. Questions were open-ended. Results of the survey concluded that Ellen DeGeneres was the most influential media figure that helped participants realize they were a part of the LGB community and helped to make participants feel more comfortable coming-out. Internet and books were the most influential forms of media while music and magazines were the least influential forms of media. This study concluded that specific LGB characters along with Internet and book resources provide the most help for someone to recognize that they are a member of the LGB community and aid in the coming-out process. There is also a question of how different aspects of media have a positive effect on the LGB community in more than just the “coming out” experience. As previously discussed in Fejes and Petrich (1993), there are few positive homosexual characters in media. Although this literature has changed much in recent years, there is still a lot of stigma around the LGB community which, in turn, is difficult for one to develop their identity as a part of this community. In media, gay males are more common than lesbians, but are typically depicted as “void” of sexuality and comically (Bond, 2014). This study looked at whether or not positive
  • 10. Opinion of Homosexuality 10 media exposure of LGB characters and people had a positive effect on LGB youth. Bond (2015) used self-discrepancy theory to predict that relationships between media exposure and well-being of LGB youth are mediated by self-discrepancies in identity. Self-discrepancy theory “postulates that incompatible beliefs about the self will induce negative emotional states” (Bond, 2014). He gave 573 self-identifying homosexual participants (45% gay, 28% bisexual, and 23% lesbian), ages 13 to 19, an online survey asking about three constructs: gay/lesbian oriented (GLO) media exposure, well-being, and self-discrepancy. The survey utilized multiple Likert-type scales that were created for the study for the three constructs of interest and cross-examined those to answers on questions regarding participant’s commitment to their sexual orientation as well as their perceived social support. The study found that exposure to GLO media positively correlated with well-being of LGB youth, and that those who had the least self-discrepancies also had the highest scores of well-being. Bond (2014) used these results to hypothesize that GLO media may also have a positive effect on heterosexual youth because it provides positive examples of LGB characters instead of stereotyped characters. This study helped to shape the discussion of how important representation of minorities in media truly is. While it is important to understand how media influences opinion, it is also vital to understand how marketing affects opinion. Advertising needs to appeal to the masses, but how does the LGB community factor into this need? Oakenfull and Greenlee (2005) studied how mass media can appeal to the LGB community without alienating heterosexual consumers to answer that very question. The LGB community is the biggest market of consumers of any minority in the United States, but there has been reluctance in advertising directly to this community by corporations because of predominantly homophobic attitudes in the U.S. (Oakenfull & Greenlee, 2005). The disconnect in marketing lead Oakenfull and Greenlee (2005)
  • 11. Opinion of Homosexuality 11 to wonder if the effects of homosexual symbolism on both the hetero- and homosexual communities to see if symbolism may be a more effective way of advertising to the LGB community without negatively impacting sales from the heterosexual community. The study tested this by showing 252 participants, 118 homosexual and 134 heterosexual, for which gender breakdowns were not listed, from five different areas of the United States advertisements with four different couples on them. The advertisements shown were 1) mainstream heterosexual couple, 2) gay/lesbian symbolism, 3) gay male couple, and 4) lesbian female couple. Participants were then asked to rate the advertisements on a 1-7 scale with “1” being “very bad” and “7” being “very good,” as well as to rate their favorability and like or dislike. Oakenfull and Greenlee (2005) found that the mainstream advertisement that was the most well received by heterosexual participants while the gay and lesbian symbolism advertisements were the most liked by the homosexual participants. Advertisements that showed gay and lesbian symbolism, however, were the second most well received advertisements from both heterosexual and homosexual participants. This study proves that while gay-themed advertisements hurt sales from heterosexual audiences, but that symbolism of homosexuality may be an effective way to market to both audiences. While there are many factors around the topics of media and opinion of homosexuality, there is a question of what factors affect the relationship between them. This is addressed by a study performed by Becker and Scheufele (2011). They looked at how different factors of demographic information, media outlet preference, and personal contact with someone LGB may influence acceptance or discouragement of homosexuality. The study examined two age cohorts, 15-25 year old’s (N=1,674) and 26-97 year old’s (N=547), 52% women, with participant information taken from the archival CIRCLE 2006 Civic and Political Health Survey.
  • 12. Opinion of Homosexuality 12 Acceptance of homosexuality was measured by a two point public acceptance measure, “1” for “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted,” and “0” for “homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged.” Participants were then asked about personal contact with someone of the LBG community, how often they viewed news via television programming, newspaper, or Internet, how liberal or conservative they were, and how often they attended church. Results yielded that the most accepting age and gender group was females aged 15-25 while the least accepting groups of people are political conservatives and religious conservatives. The study also found that having personal contact with someone who is homosexual positively affects acceptance. Media exposure and preferred media outlet did not have a significant influence on opinion of homosexuality. In contrast, the present study examines preferred source for news and changes in opinion of homosexuality over time, with the inclusion of social media news outlets. The Role of Media Today The scope of research for the current study focuses on the history of both homosexuality and media. The most vital concept to understand, however, is the effects that media has on people, specifically mass and social media. Many studies in the fields of advertisement and communications have looked at the effects of mass media, such as television, newspapers, magazines, and more. But today there is more of a focus on the role of social media in daily life and social media as a tool of persuasion. Research on social media by Hoffman, Pinkleton, Weintraub, and Reyes-Velazquez (2014) found that social media is an important and widely effective marketing tool. Hoffman et al. (2014) studied the relationship between college student’s average amount of alcohol consumption, social media use, and exposure to alcohol advertising via social media. There was a total of 116 participants, pulled from two universities
  • 13. Opinion of Homosexuality 13 in the United States, 68% of which were female while ethnic information was not listed. Participants completed a short survey asking about their average social media use, average alcohol consumption, and how often they view alcohol related marketing material via social media. The scales used in this experiment were created by the researchers to assess these areas of study. Results found that there is a strong positive correlation between how often a participant viewed an alcohol related advertisement on social media and the likeliness they were to consume alcohol and participate in risky behaviors on average. Hoffman et al. (2014) also acknowledge that the results of the study can be attributed to the type of information a participant chose to view on social media. In layman’s terms, those who were interested in drinking were more likely to view alcohol related content (Hoffman et al., 2014). While researchers acknowledge that the results of this study are not perfectly representative of the population, there are huge implications for how humans are influenced by social media. In addition to the work of Hoffman et al. (2014), Greenwood, Sorenson, and Warner (2016) have found that there is a link between social media and its ability to spread messages portrayed by other forms of media. Greenwood et al. (2016) was concerned with the relationship between how participants view a segment of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, a political satire television program, and respond to Facebook comments criticizing Oliver’s comments. The study featured a 2x2 design, featuring low and high salience topics as segments of John Oliver’s as well as an opposing list of Facebook comments to the segment watched and no list of Facebook comments after viewing the segment. The low salience topic used in the study featured John Oliver discussing the use of payday loans. In contrast, the high salience topic used in the study featured John Oliver discussing the events that occurred in the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was shot to death. Participants in the study were solicited from the
  • 14. Opinion of Homosexuality 14 University of Missouri (n=189), for which 63.5% of participants were female while the majority of participants were Caucasian (73.5%). There was a spread across political party affiliation, with 34.9% of participants Republican, 33.9% Democrat, and 31.2% identifying as other. Greenwood et al. (2016) found inconclusive and weakly correlated results for the high salience topics with and without Facebook comments, but found that the addition of Facebook comments lead to less participants agreeing with Oliver’s comments. These results suggest that the use of social media comments sections have a lot of influence on opinion. The study results are limited because they did not compare the segments from John Oliver to traditional, non-politically motivated news programming on the same topics. This study could easily be replicated with a larger sample and variations to the variables for more conclusive results. While this study does not focus on the LGB community, it is still important to include as it is related to how humans perceive and are influenced by media. Hypotheses Predicted outcomes for this study include that a) opinion of same-sex attraction has become less homophobic since the age of 14, b) those who regularly view a variety of news sources will be less homophobic than those who do not regularly view news media or view low amounts of news media, and c) the higher the number of social media sources used will coincide with a lower homophobia score. Method Participants Participants were solicited by their enrollment in psychology courses at Dominican University as well as by Facebook. There was a total of 88 participants solicited from classes at Dominican University of California as well as from Facebook, for which 56 were female, 31
  • 15. Opinion of Homosexuality 15 were male, and one participant declined to answer. Ages ranged from 18-58 years old while the average participant age was 27. Participant ethnicity ranged from 48.3% Caucasian, 15.1% Asian, 9% African American, 21.3% Latino, and 6.8% other. The majority of the participants in this study were heterosexual (80.7%). Each participant voluntarily participated in the survey. Materials & Procedure Participants were given a link to the survey on SurveyMonkey.com. The only necessary materials needed for this study was access to a computer in order to take the survey. Participants read a brief introduction page for debriefing purposes and consented to taking the survey by continuing (Appendix A). The voluntary survey contained demographic items regarding gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class level, religious affiliation, and political preference as well as The Homophobia Scale (Appendices B and C). The Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999) consists of 25 statements listing emotions and scenarios regarding gay people. Participants then rate agreement with these items on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being “strongly agree” and 5 being “strongly disagree.” The questionnaire also included questions regarding one’s opinion of homosexuality at age 14, their opinion of homosexuality today, and whether or not they know someone who identifies as part of the LGB community. There is also a question regarding the most popular sources for acquiring news, including conservative and liberal television news programs, print media, social contacts, traditional news sources via social media outlets, and opinion blogs. After completing the survey participants read a Thank You page, which thanked them for their participation and provided my information for follow up questions and results (Appendix D). Results The survey used for this study consisted of questions regarding demographic items, opinions of homosexuality at age 14 and at current age, the types of news sources regularly
  • 16. Opinion of Homosexuality 16 viewed and the Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999). Opinions of homosexuality were scored by asking participants how much they agreed with the statement “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted” Then participants rated their agreement from “1,” strongly agree, to “5,” strongly disagree, at age 14 and at their current age. Participant’s total news sources were scored by a “check all that apply” method including all eleven items of news sources (Appendix C). Total news sources were scored by adding together all items checked by the participant. The Homophobia Scale (Wright et al., 1999) asked 25 Likert-type questions regarding how homophobic a participant was, scaled “0” to “100” with “0” being “least homophobic” and “100” being “most homophobic.” This measure also contains three subscales that measure negative construct, negative affect/aggression, and negative affect/avoidance to determine how homophobic a participant was. Negative affect/aggression and negative affect/avoidance are rated on a scale of “0” to “40” while negative construct is rated on a scale of “0” to “20.” Means for the total number of participant’s regular viewing of each type of news source appear in Figure 1 below while means for demographic information from all 88 participants appear in Table 1. It was originally hypothesized that participants would become less homophobic from the age of 14 to their current age. A Paired-samples t-test revealed that there is a statistically significant difference between opinion of homosexuality at age 14 and at current age, t (76) = .024, p < .05. The sample became less homophobic over time. These results are shown in Figure 2.
  • 17. Opinion of Homosexuality 17 Figure 1.______________________________________________________________________ Total News Sources Viewed by Participant’s Figure 2.______________________________________________________________________ Average Homophobia Rating from Age 14 to Current Age
  • 18. Opinion of Homosexuality 18 The second hypothesis in this study was that participants who view a high number of news sources (5-11) regularly would be less homophobic than those who view a low (0-2) or medium (3-4) number of news sources regularly. A Between Groups ANOVA revealed that participants who viewed a moderate number of news sources regularly were more homophobic than other groups, F (2, 76) = .022, MSe = 344.504, p < .05. Post hoc tests using Tukey’s HSD test revealed that there is a statistically significant difference between media use and homophobia. In addition, post hoc tests also revealed that all of the subscales of The Homophobia Scale revealed a statistically significant difference between groups. Those who view a low amount of news media (0-2 sources) were the least homophobic with an average score of 6.47 on a scale of “0” to “100,” and were also the least homophobic across all of the subscales. Participants who viewed a medium number of news sources regularly (3-4 sources) were the most homophobic overall as well as across all of the subscales. Means for total homophobia scores are shown in Figure 3 while means and standard deviations for total homophobia and subscale scores are displayed in Table 2.
  • 19. Opinion of Homosexuality 19 Figure 3.______________________________________________________________________ Average Homophobia Rating For Low, Medium, and High News Viewing Lastly, this study hypothesized that those who regularly view a higher number of social media sources for news would be less homophobic overall than those who regularly view a low or moderate amount of news via social media outlets. The variables of social media news agency and social media opinion blogs were added together to create the variable of total social media source count. A Paired Samples t-test revealed that there is no statistically significant difference between the amount of social media sources someone views regularly and homophobia, t (76) = .761, p > .05. There appears to be no relationship between a participant’s usage of social media news outlets and total homophobia.
  • 20. Opinion of Homosexuality 20 Table 1._______________________________________________________________________ Average Number of Participant’s Per Demographic Item Number of Participant’s Gender: - Female 56 - Male 31 - Omitted 1 Ethnicity: - Black 8 - Asian 13 - Pacific Islander 19 - Latin 3 - White 43 - Omitted 2 Completed Education Level: - High School 38 - College 43 - Graduate School 6 - Not Applicable 1 College Grade Level (If in college): - Freshman 10 - Sophomore 13 - Junior 12 - Senior 22 - Graduate School 2 - Not Applicable 20 - Omitted 9 Sexual Orientation: - Straight 67 - Gay/Lesbian 5 - Bisexual 11 - Omitted 5 Political Affiliation: - Democrat 50 - Republican 8 - Independent 24 - Omitted 6 Religious Affiliation: - Christian 16 - Catholic 27 - Jewish 3 - Atheist/Agnostic 11 - None 15 - Other 9 - Omitted 7
  • 21. Opinion of Homosexuality 21 Table 2._______________________________________________________________________ Mean Homophobia Rating by Amount of News Media Regularly Viewed Usage Group Low Medium High Total Homophobia Score 6.47 13.96 8.34 Negative affect/aggression 2.89 5.21 3.03 Negative affect/avoidance 1.90 3.79 1.90 Negative Construct 1.70 4.96 4.13 Discussion The first hypothesis was whether or not there was a change of opinion regarding same- sex attraction and the LGB community from age 14 to current age. Research conducted in 2015 from the PEW Research Center found that 55% of Americans support gay marriage, as compared to 27% in 1996 (PEW Research Center, 2015). Following this study, it was hypothesized that the sample would become less homophobic from the age of 14 to their current age. Participants in this sample did become less homophobic over time. However, it is important to note that participants in this sample were on average not very homophobic to start. This may be because the sample was solicited from the typically liberal Bay Area of California. However, it is important to ask where this change of opinion is stemming from and what factors influence this change. The next hypothesis was that a participant who viewed more news sources regularly would be less homophobic than those who regularly viewed a low number of news sources. In contrast to what was hypothesized, participants in this sample who viewed a low number of news sources (0-2 sources) regularly were the least homophobic. Those who viewed a medium amount of news sources (3-4 sources) regularly were the most homophobic. This may be because those who view a medium number of sources are viewing the same views on topics and not varying their information. However, the survey in this study used a “check all that apply” question regarding news media sources which is not the best method to assess which sources are being
  • 22. Opinion of Homosexuality 22 viewed often. A more effective method of measuring the news sources that participants viewed would be to ask if participants view each source separately, then ask how often they view each source and what they use each source for. By asking how each participant uses a news source there is less variability in how the data can be interpreted. It is also important that future research address the media sources that people are viewing that are not news related. Ahmad and Bhugra (2010) performed a literature review which cited having more media representation of homosexual characters in turn allows for more accepting views of homosexuality. The final hypothesis regarded how social media may have a correlational relationship to how homophobic a participant was. It was hypothesized that the more a participant uses social media to view news regularly, the less homophobic they would be. This hypothesis was refuted as there appeared to be no relationship between the number of social media sources used and how homophobic a participant was. This may be because social media is a newer resource, especially for news and advertisement. The effects of social media use and social media’s influence on others is not well researched yet, and this form of media has not been around long enough for there to be longitudinal studies performed. In addition, this study in particular had a large age range of participants. Age may have had an effect on this sample because few participants regularly used social media as a resource for retrieving news. Chomsky and Barclay’s (2006) longitudinal research on mass-media also found that print media appears to have no effect on opinion of homosexuality. Demographic items such as one’s own sexual orientation, knowing someone who’s a part of the LGB community, religious affiliation, and completed education level have the greatest effect on how homophobic a person is. In this study, the demographic items of gender, ethnicity, completed education level, college grade level,
  • 23. Opinion of Homosexuality 23 religious affiliation, and political preference appeared to have no effect on homophobia. This may be because of the geographical area that the sample was pulled from. There were a few limitations in this study. Firstly, the sample contained information from 88 participants, where six participants were outliers and their information was thrown out in final analyses. This is problematic because a high number of outliers in a sample can detect an issue with how the study was administered or with the sample. In this study the outliers represented people who were more homophobic than the rest of the sample. The sample was primarily pulled from the San Francisco Bay Area which is known for being very liberal. Because the sample was overwhelmingly accepting of homosexuality to start, the outliers may represent a greater view of the entire United States while the sample may not be representative of the United States as a whole. Participants in this research were also solicited from university classes and Facebook. If participants were solicited purely from university classes there would have been a more representative sample of how younger college-aged students feel in regards to same-sex attraction and use of news media. Allowing for solely university students to take the survey may have also yielded different results in regards to how different news media sources are used and there may have been a noticeable difference in opinion change in relation to news media. In addition, this study did not include enough questions in the survey to thoroughly assess what news media sources a participant viewed, how often they viewed different news sources, or how different news media was used. Past research has shown that more positive homosexual characters on television allows for more accepting views of homosexuality among the general populous (Ahmad & Bhugra, 2010). This may be in regards to cultivation theory, which states that those who view more television believe that reality aligns with what is viewed in television programming (as cited in
  • 24. Opinion of Homosexuality 24 Calzo & Ward, 2009). Having positive LGB characters on television may remove previous stereotypes that allow for more accepting views of homosexuality for those who have false stereotypes about the LGB community or do not know anyone who is homosexual. While there is a plethora of research on the topic of homosexuality and the factors that promote more positive views of homosexuality, previous research has also found that more positive homosexual characters in popular media across all platforms allows for an easier coming-out process for the LGB community (Gomillion & Guilliano, 2011). Other research has found that having personal contact with someone who is part of the LGB community affects acceptance positively (Becker & Scheufele, 2011). By creating more LGB characters across media platforms, there is a cycle that starts where more homosexual people feel comfortable coming out and more heterosexual people have the opportunity to know someone who is gay. This allows for the breakage of previous stereotypes, which is the first step to ending discrimination and negative views of homosexuality. In addition, past studies have found that living somewhere more racially diverse as well as those that are college-educated as more accepting of homosexuality (Chomsky & Barclay, 2006). Future research should include a variety of news media questions that asks participants if they view specific news media sources and how often they view each source. Additional questions will help validate participant’s answers, which may help in the prevention of high numbers of outliers. This study would also benefit from utilizing another scale to measure homophobia so scores could be cross-examined. For future research to make a causal inference for why there is a change of opinion of homosexuality and the factors that affect this change a longitudinal study would need to be performed. However, a larger sample size that either looked specifically at college students or included all ages would need to be performed across the
  • 25. Opinion of Homosexuality 25 United States instead of in one small facet of the country to create a more representative sample and yield better results. Despite limitations in this study, there is a slew of information in this study that can guide future research. The psychological community has gained some information about the factors that may influence opinion of homosexuality as well as a look into the role of social media in regards to opinion formation.
  • 26. Opinion of Homosexuality 26 References Ahmad, S., & Bhugra, D. (2010). Homophobia: an updated review of the literature. Sexual & Relationship Therapy, 25(4), 447-455. Becker, A. B., & Scheufele, D. A. (2011). New voters, new outlook? Predispositions, social networks, and the changing politics of gay civil rights. Social Science Quarterly, 92(2), 324-345. Bond, B. J. (2015). The mediating role of self-discrepancies in the relationship between media exposure and well-being among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. Media Psychology, 18(1), 51-73. Calzo, J. P., & Ward, L. M. (2009). Media exposure and viewers' attitudes toward homosexuality: Evidence for mainstreaming or resonance? Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 53(2), 280-299. Chomsky, D., & Barclay, S. (2006). Shaping the same sex marriage discussion: Mass media, government action, social demographic factors, and public opinion in the 50 states. Conference Papers -- American Political Science Association, 1-31. Fejes, F., & Petrich, K. (1993). Invisibility, homophobia, and heterosexism: Lesbians, gays, and the media. Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 10(4). 395-422. Gomillion, S., & Giuliano, T. (2011). The influence of media role models on gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity. Journal of Homosexuality, 330-354. Greenwood, M. M., Sorenson, M. E., & Warner, B. R. (2016). Ferguson on facebook: Political persuasion in a new era of media effects. Computers in Human Behavior, 571-10. Hoffman, E. W., Pinkleton, B. E., Weintraub Austin, E., & Reyes-Velázquez, W. (2014). Exploring college students’ use of general and alcohol-related social media and their
  • 27. Opinion of Homosexuality 27 associations with alcohol-related behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 62(5), 328-335. Holmes, M., & Bloxham, M. (2009). An observational method for time use research: Lessons learned from the middletown media studies. Social Indicators Research, 93(1), 245-248. Hudson, W. W., & Ricketts, W. A. (1980). A strategy for the measurement of homophobia. Journal of Homosexuality, 5, 357-372. Merriam Webster. (n.d.). Homophobia. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/homophobia Oakenfull, G. K., & Greenlee, T. B. (2005). Queer eye for a gay guy: Using market-specific symbols in advertising to attract gay consumers without alienating the mainstream. Psychology & Marketing, 22(5), 421-439. PEW Research Center. Growing support for gay marriage: Changed minds and changing demographics. (2013, March 20). Retrieved December 11, 2015, from http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/20/growing-support-for-gay-marriage-changed-minds-and- changing-demographics/ Wright, L. W., Adams, H. E., & Bernat, J. (1999). Development and validation of the homophobia scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 21, 337-347.
  • 28. Opinion of Homosexuality 28 APPENDIX A: Letter of Introduction and Consent Dear Study Participant, My name is Kathleen Wortham and I am a senior psychology student at Dominican University of California. I am conducting a research project as part of my senior thesis requirements, and this work is being supervised by William Phillips, Professor of Psychology at Dominican University of California. I am requesting your voluntary participation in my study, which concerns one’s opinion of homosexuality and one’s preferred media outlet for news. Participation in this study involves filling out a questionnaire. Please note that your participation is completely voluntary and you are free to withdraw your participation at any time. Likewise, your participation or non-participation will not affect your class grade. Your survey responses are designed to be completely anonymous. Complete anonymity, however, cannot be guaranteed and in the unlikely event that an identity becomes known, those responses will be held in strict confidence. If you ever need further assistance, please contact the research advisor at the e-mail address provided below. Filling out the survey is likely to take approximately 10 minutes of your time. If you choose to participate in this study, please follow the survey link and answer questions as honestly and completely as possible. Remember, this survey is completely anonymous; do not put your name or any other identifying information on your survey form. By clicking the survey link you have given your consent to participate in this research. There is no benefit to your participation except for the opportunity to participate in research. If you have any questions about the research you may contact me at the e-mail address below. If you have any further questions you may contact my research supervisor, William Phillips at william.phillips@dominican.edu, (415) 482-3596 or the Dominican University of California Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRBPHS), which is concerned with protection of volunteers in research projects. You may research the IRBPHS Office by calling (415) 482-3547 and leaving a voicemail message, by FAX at (415) 257-0165, or by writing to IRBPHS, Office of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 95901. If you would like to know the results of this study once it has been completed, please contact me at the e-mail address below. Thank you in advance for your participation. Sincerely, Kathleen Wortham Psychology Student Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA kathleen.wortham@students.dominican.edu
  • 29. Opinion of Homosexuality 29 APPENDIX B: Demographic Items At the age of 14 years old, rate your opinion of this statement, with “1” meaning you strongly agree and “5” meaning you strongly disagree: “Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted.” 1 2 3 4 5 What is your Age? _____ What is your gender? a) male b) female What education level have you completed? a) High School b) College c) Graduate School d) Postdoctoral Work e) None of the Above If in college, what is your grade level? a) Freshman b) Sophomore c) Junior d) Senior e) Graduate school What is your sexual orientation? a) Straight b) Lesbian c) Gay d) Bisexual e) Other: ___________________ What is your political preference? a) Democrat b) Republican c) Independent d) Other: _________________ What is your religious affiliation? a) Christian b) Catholic c) Jewish d) Muslim e) Other: __________________
  • 30. Opinion of Homosexuality 30 Do you know of a person or persons with whom you are closely tied to who identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual? a) Yes b) No If Yes, please describe your relationship to this person or persons: ________________________ Check all that apply: Where do you primarily receive your news from:  Television: Traditional broadcast news (example: ABC Nightly News, FOX News, etc.)  Television: Opinion news (example: Bill O’Reilly, The Daily Show, etc.)  Social Contacts: friends, family, coworkers, peers, etc.  Internet: Traditional News Websites (examples: The Guardian, CNN, etc.)  Social Media: Social Contacts (examples: Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  Social Media: Opinion Blogs (examples: Tumblr, Weebly, etc.)  Print: Newspaper, Magazines Books, etc.  Other: ________________________ How would you rate yourself at keeping up on current events via your preferred news sources, with “1” being not often and “7” being very often: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Rate your current opinion of this statement, with “1” meaning you strongly agree and “5” meaning you strongly disagree: “Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted.” 1 2 3 4 5
  • 31. Opinion of Homosexuality 31 APPENDIX C: Homophobia Scale This questionnaire is designed to measure your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with regards to homosexuality. It is not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers. Answer each item by circling the number after each question as follows: 1 Strongly agree 2 Agree 3 Neither agree nor disagree 4 Disagree 5 Strongly disagree 1. Gay people make me nervous. 1 2 3 4 5 2. Gay people deserve what they get. 1 2 3 4 5 3. Homosexuality is acceptable to me. 1 2 3 4 5 4. If I discovered a friend was gay I would end the friendship. 1 2 3 4 5 5. I think homosexual people should not work with children. 1 2 3 4 5 6. I make derogatory remarks about gay people. 1 2 3 4 5 7. I enjoy the company of gay people. 1 2 3 4 5 8. Marriage between homosexual individuals is acceptable. 1 2 3 4 5 9. I make derogatory remarks like “faggot” or “queer” to people I suspect are gay. 1 2 3 4 5 10. It does not matter to me whether my friends are gay or straight. 1 2 3 4 5 11. It would not upset me if I learned that a close friend was homosexual. 1 2 3 4 5 12. Homosexuality is immoral. 1 2 3 4 5 13. I tease and make jokes about gay people. 1 2 3 4 5 14. I feel that you cannot trust a person who is homosexual. 1 2 3 4 5 15. I fear homosexual persons will make sexual advances towards me. 1 2 3 4 5 16. Organizations which promote gay rights are necessary. 1 2 3 4 5 17. I have damaged property of gay persons, such as “keying” their cars. 1 2 3 4 5 18. I would feel comfortable having a gay roommate. 1 2 3 4 5 19. I would hit a homosexual for coming on to me. 1 2 3 4 5 20. Homosexual behavior should not be against the law. 1 2 3 4 5 21. I avoid gay individuals. 1 2 3 4 5 22. It does not bother me to see two homosexual people together in public. 1 2 3 4 5 23. When I see a gay person I think, “What a waste.” 1 2 3 4 5 24. When I meet someone I try to find out if he/she is gay. 1 2 3 4 5 25. I have rocky relationships with people that I suspect are gay. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 32. Opinion of Homosexuality 32 APPENDIX D: Thank You Page Dear Participant, Thank you for participating in this research project. If you would like to know the results of this study once it has been completed in May 2016, please contact me at the e-mail address below. If you have any questions or concerns about the research you may contact me at the e-mail address provided below, or you may contact my research supervisor, William Phillips at william.phillips@dominican.edu. Thank you again for your participation. Sincerely, Kathleen Wortham Psychology Student Dominican University of California Email: kathleen.wortham@students.dominican.edu